Derrick Walton played perhaps the best game of his career [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
Michigan fans worried about a sloppy, letdown performance after the Wolverines emerged unscathed from a brutal three-game stretch had a portion of their worst fears realized. They committed an uncharacteristic 16 turnovers tonight, including gaffes on three straight first-half possessions to give Purdue a brief one-point edge.
That didn't last long, however, as the home team simply couldn't miss against a porous Boilermakers defense. The final numbers: 21/33 from two and 7/13 from three for a remarkable 68.5 eFG%. Purdue managed to win the turnover and rebounding battles but few teams could've kept pace with Michigan's shooting this evening.
"We did just a wonderful job of getting good shots and doing just enough to win," said John Beilein in the postgame radio interview, and he may have been understating matters.
The backcourt essentially called their own shots all night. Nik Stauskas scored 16 points on 5/10 FGs, including an explosive blow-by reverse layup late in the first half and a couple now-signature pull-up jumpers in the second. Caris LeVert recorded his first career double-double with 14 points (5/11 FG), 11 rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks; his highlights included a LeBron-esque jump stop layup plus the foul and a coast-to-coast layup off his own steal.
Then there was Derrick Walton, who built upon his career-high 19 points against Michigan State with a 14-point effort on just seven shots, of which he missed one, while also chipping in three assists and two steals. He looked more confident than ever working the pick and roll, getting to the basket routinely—big man butterfingers robbed him of a couple more assists. After AJ Hammons committed a lane violation on the front end of a one-and-one with three seconds left in the first half, Walton made Purdue pay dearly by covering the length of the court—splitting two defenders in the process—and finishing at the buzzer before Hammons could react to give Michigan a six-point halftime lead.
LeVert [left, Upchurch] and Stauskas [right, Fuller] both got whatever they wanted offensively.
By the second half, it seemed like Michigan's players were trying to one-up each other's plays. Walton dove into the lane and suddenly scooped a pass to a trailing Jordan Morgan, who finished with a layup for two of his 11 points. LeVert followed with his Olympic long jump tryout. Stauskas knocked down a heavily contested jumper from the stripe. Jon Horford worked his way into the paint and hit a turnaround fade away for two of his four points on the night. Zak Irvin responded to a Hammons dunk with a nothing-but-net triple from the wing.
Even though Michigan never played fully within themselves—the split their 16 turnovers evenly between the first and second halves—their ability to create and make good shots* was on full display. They were lucky that their worst turnover performance of the season by both rate and number came against an overmatched opponent; at the same time, it's tough to complain when they still managed to score 1.17 points per possession.
Caris LeVert made up for his four turnovers with some impressive transition defense, including two blocks (though Purdue recovered for a putback after one) and a clean strip that forced the Boilermakers to take the ball out of bounds after a two-on-one break. He used his length exceptionally on both ends in this one, consistently getting his hands on the ball whether it was in an opponent's hands or caroming off the rim.
Glenn Robinson III was a relative non-factor as the only starter to not score in double digits, finishing with eight points on six shots—though he did hit his first three-pointer since January 14th—and three rebounds in 36 minutes. He managed to get to the rim off a nice jab-step in an isolation situation, however, which was a good sign after a couple games in which he created very little in the halfcourt.
Spike Albrecht only played seven minutes due to Walton's superb outing, especially since Walton also played exceptional on-ball defense in this one, holding Terone Johnson to just four points (2/6 FG) and two assists to two turnovers. Spike made the most of his limited time, however, hitting his first layup in Big Ten play and draining a three-pointer on his only attempts.
The defense played well as a unit, forcing Hammons to work hard for his 16 points (7/14 FG), and the combination of Morgan and Horford limited him to just one offensive rebound; the guards contributed some nice help defense on him from the weak side, especially in the first half. (Nik Stauskas had three blocks all on this type of action if memory serves.) The team had issues boxing out, however, as Purdue rebounded 16 of their 37 misses (39%); while that's Purdue's M.O., it was still a weak area in an otherwise strong defensive performance.
*In Stauskas' case, just about any shot is a good shot.
St. Thomas Aquinas could probably compete with some small level colleges as they pump out D1 prospects like some clever analogy for industriousness the other guys might come up with. The 2015 class alone boasts nine players who might play at the next level and Michigan has offered two of them.
Name: Devante Peete
Position: Wide Receiver
Ht/Wt: 6'6" / 200 lbs.
Location: St. Thomas Aquinas High School – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Offers: Alabama, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, South Carolina, West Virginia
Ranking: ★★★★ .9440 (247 Composite)
Devante Peete is a tall, smooth receiver at 6’6” and like most receivers of his stature he is a natural at high-pointing the ball and using every inch to his advantage. Peete told me that he hasn’t run a 40 recently but he looks to have very good speed for a receiver his size.
I was able to speak briefly with Devante and he came off as a young man of few words but he answered all of my questions with what felt like honesty and the expected levels of uncertainty. Coach Mattison chatted very briefly with Devante and just told him that the coaches all really liked what he can do on the field and extended him the offer in person.
Devante said he really likes the idea of Michigan Stadium, but admitted to not knowing much about Michigan at this time. “I really like their stadium. I’m feeling Michigan. It seems like it would be a great place to play football.” He assured me that he will be doing his research on the Wolverines.
Peete told me that he has no leader right now and he really is just trying to learn as much as he can about every school and program that has offered him. He plans to take his officials during his senior season and trim his list to a potential top 10, 5, or 3 before announcing his final decision at the end of the season. I asked him if Michigan would be one of his official visits and he said, “Most likely.”
Name: Rashard Causey
Ht/Wt/40: 6'0" / 190 lbs. / 4.4
Location: St. Thomas Aquinas High School – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Offers: Arkansas, Cincinnati, Clemson, Eastern Michigan, Florida, Indiana, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Nebraska, NC State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, UCF, UCLA, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Wisconsin
Ranking: ★★★ .8800 (247 Composite)
Even though Causey is rated lower than his fellow Raider, his offer list doesn’t reflect it. With good size, fantastic speed, and over 20 offers, it’s clear that Causey is a player. Rashard hasn’t played a season yet at Aquinas as he just moved into his new high school to finish out his prep career, a move that is sure to get more eyes on him.
Causey seemed to be genuinely excited about receiving the offer from Michigan. “I’m really excited man, I can’t wait to visit! I’m probably going to take an official during the season. I want to be in the crowd while it’s live!”
I had to admit to Rashard that I didn’t know much about him and didn’t realize Michigan was recruiting him and to my surprise he basically said the same thing. “I have no idea how long they’ve been on me. I met Coach Mattison yesterday and he told me to call him and they offered me. He said they all loved my film.”
It’s not much of a surprise but Florida kids don’t seem to know much about Michigan football and Rashard was no different. “I don’t really know much but I know their games be mad packed! I don’t know much about Big Ten football period.” Causey was born and raised in Florida and when I asked him if he liked any of the big schools from the Sunshine State he responded quickly and passionately with, “Noles!” Florida State hasn’t offered Causey but with his answer I had to ask what might happen if they do and he said, “It might change the game for me!”
Even though he clearly likes Florida State a lot, he seemed to be genuinely interested in the Wolverines too. He said he plans to cut his list down to a top 10 as soon as the spring rolls around and Michigan will 100% be in his top 10.
After talking with both of these young men I’d be beyond surprised if either of them ended up at Michigan. Peete just didn’t seem to have any genuine excitement surrounding his Michigan offer and while Causey did, if Florida State offers he’s a Seminole lock. Causey said that it was a 100% certainty that he’ll visit Michigan and Peete said he’d most likely check out Ann Arbor. It is worth noting that Michigan got serious attention from Corey Holmes who just finished his senior season at Aquinas and is a close friend of Peete. Holmes ultimately committed to Notre Dame but there was a time that Michigan looked like a real possibility. If Causey and Peete make trips to Ann Arbor happen, obviously my feelings could change but for now I’d say these guys are slim-to-noners.
|WHAT||Michigan vs. Purdue|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||9 pm Eastern, Thursday|
|LINE||Michigan -17 (KenPom)|
|TV||ESPN/WatchESPN (PBP: Joe Tessitore; Analyst: Sean Farnham)|
Right: Matt Painter could really use a hug (via)
Despite facing one of the easiest slates of Big Ten opponents thus far, Purdue is struggling mightily in conference play (3-4) after going 10-3 in non-conference action with just one victory over a KP100 squad. Matt Painter is trying just about every possible lineup combination to get things to click, including eight different starting lineups so far this year. How's that going, coach?
Purdue coach Matt Painter, on his rotation: "I'd like our guys to play better, so I'd know who the hell to play."
— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) January 27, 2014
Purdue boasts ten(!) players averaging over 13 minutes per game; all fall under the categories of inefficient high-usage player, low-usage role player, or Guy Named Johnson Who Jacks Up Ill-Advised Shots On The Regular.
Sophomore seven-foot center AJ Hammons falls into the first category despite shooting 55% from the floor, rebounding nearly 10% of Purdue's misses when he's on the court, and posting a monstrous 91.8 free throw rate. Why? He commits a turnover on over a quarter of his possessions and has just 11 assists all season. He's a superlative rebounder and shot-blocker, but his effort waxes and wanes without much warning; he's scored 16+ points in five games this year and seven or fewer in seven games, including no points against three TOs in 27 minutes against lowly Washington State and a two-point, three-turnover, three-foul performance in Purdue's most recent game, a home blowout loss at the hands of Wisconsin.
In his two starts last season against Michigan, Hammons combined to shoot 2/10 from the field with just four free-throw attempts, six rebounds, five turnovers, and two blocks. He could reverse course and have big game; he's just as liable to be a total non-factor. His backup, 6'10" freshman Jay Simpson, is actually doing better on the boards, but he's not a shot-blocker and is shooting under 45% from the field.
The essence of Hammons: frustration (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The Boilermakers start a relatively small lineup aside from Hammons; the de facto four is 6'5", 222-pound freshman Basil Smotherman. Yes, his name is really Basil Smotherman. A defensive specialist, Smotherman is also Purdue's most effective scorer inside the arc, shooting 75.6% at the rim and 48.4% on two-point jumpers, to go with solid offensive rebounding and a low turnover rate; naturally, he's the lowest-usage starter.
6'5" sophomore guard Raphael Davis is listed as a probable starter in the game notes, though he normally gets less playing time than 6'6" freshman Kendall Stephens. Davis has a knack for getting to the line but otherwise doesn't add much production; his shot has been iffy this season. Stephens is a pure spot-up gunner shooting 36% on 118 three-point attempts and just 7/21 from inside the arc. Davis has started the last seven games but expect to see plenty of Stephens off the bench.
Brothers Terone and Ronnie Johnson round out the starting backcourt and represent the only two Boilermakers averaging double-digit points this season. Ronnie, the 6'0" point guard, has a very solid assist rate and has hit 12 of his 29 threes; he's also attempted 144 two-pointers, mostly of the jumper variety, and he's connecting on just 43% of those. Terone's two-point shooting line is quite similar—44% on 157 attempts—though he's at least focusing more of his attention on the outside, hitting 36% of his 68 3PAs. Both get to the line relatively frequently; both knock down their free throws in the 63-64% range.
Other backups of note are freshman guard Bryson Scott—a two-point chucker in the Brothers Johnson mold (NTBJ), hitting 36% of his 120 2PA while attempting just seven threes—and 6'6" Cornell transfer Errick Peck, a solid rebounder who posts decent shooting numbers and a high turnover rate in a marginal role. 6'0" Seattle transfer Sterling Carter is also liable to make a cameo; he's another pure shot-up gunner shooting... 19/70 from three this season, well below his career mark.
Purdue's lone KP100 victory came by three points at #63 West Virginia—not exactly a statement game—and they only faced two other such opponents, losing on neutral floors to #16 Oklahoma State and #100 Butler. Despite not facing Michigan, Michigan State, or Iowa so far in Big Ten play, the Boilermakers have gone just 3-4 with close wins at home against Penn State and Nebraska and away at Illinois. They lost a double-OT game at Northwestern despite the Wildcats being down to six available players by the second overtime, got blown out at home by Ohio State and Wisconsin, and dropped a close one against Minnesota at The Barn.
KenPom favors Purdue in just two more games this season. This is not one of them.
Now that we're partway into conference play, I'll start posting four factors charts for all the games and Big Ten games only, with sample size issues obviously coming into play on the latter for a while.
Four factors, all games (national ranks in parentheses):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||47.6 (258)||16.7 (68)||37.2 (30)||39.2 (209)|
|Defense||45.8 (52)||18.0 (207)||31.0 (152)||40.6 (171)|
Conference-only (seven games, Big Ten ranks in parentheses):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||42.3 (10)||16.7 (6)||36.7 (1)||36.8 (8)|
|Defense||46.8 (5)||14.6 (11)||24.4 (2)||41.1 (8)|
Despite featuring a talented seven-footer, Purdue is dead last in the conference in two-point shooting (40.7%)(!), and their three-point shooting isn't much better—ninth in the B1G with a 30.7% mark. They're also ninth in free-throw percentage, last in shots blocked, and somehow posting a worse eFG% in transition (47.0%) than in non-transition possessions (47.8%).
Their defense is in the middle of the Big Ten pack, though a fair amount of luck appears to be bolstering their numbers; Purdue is last in the league in 3PA/FGA (39.3%) and first in 3P% against (28.8%). This is mostly due to Northwestern's woeful 4/24 3P performance in their matchup; Minnesota went 11/24 from beyond the arc against Purdue, so this team is susceptible to getting lit up from the outside, and their two-point defense is well below average despite Hammons' inside presence. The one thing they're consistently good at on both ends is rebounding.
Attack Hammons early. Hammons is Purdue's only real rim protector. He's also relatively foul-prone. If Michigan can find a way to get him in early foul trouble—whether by driving right at him, forcing him away from the basket with high screens, or taking charges on the other end—then the interior will be theirs for the taking.
Box out. Purdue can't really shoot, but they can rebound, and rely largely on putbacks to generate points. Hammons and Simpson are obviously the biggest worries here, though Smotherman and Peck are also excellent offensive rebounders; the bigs must stay disciplined on the boards and the guards might have to help out—a repeat of Caris LeVert's eight-rebound performance (all defensive) against MSU would be quite welcome.
Look to run. The Boilermakers' tendency to chuck off-target jumpers and crash the boards should lead to plenty of transition opportunities if Michigan wants to take advantage. The last few games have featured great outlet passing from not just Morford, but also perimeter players like LeVert and Stauskas. Expect to see some fast break fireworks and a nice bounce-back game for GRIII as a result.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 17
The all-Johnson backcourt is a point of contention because Purdue rises and falls with them. When they are good, Purdue looks great. When they are off, Purdue looks pretty terrible and things like the Northwestern game happen. I feel like we rely on them too much to the point where other guys defer to them even when they struggle.
As for [Terone Johnson] on Stauskas, I don't trust Purdue defensively at all. We're a long way away from being able to play lockdown defense on anyone. There is just no edge with this team. There is no pride in playing Purdue-style basketball that we have been known for since Gene Keady started.
The dripping sound you just heard was Nik Stauskas drooling uncontrollably.
Hammer and Rails attempts to figure out what happened to Matt Painter's program. Brian linked this earlier but seriously look at Caris LeVert's numbers compared to Tim Hardaway's last season. Congratulations, Michigan State, on receiving the fugliest of Nike's new lineup of alternate jerseys. The Michigan-MSU game at Crisler has been set for a noon tipoff on February 23rd.
McDowell Watch: Day Somethingorother
Let's go to Sam Webb, live on the scene ($):
"He talked with (Hoke) late last night," McDowell's father reported. "(Michigan's in-home) is for tomorrow. We (i.e. both parents and Malik) are going to Ohio State this weekend. Florida State is making it in tomorrow also."
Malik McDowell released a top four of Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, and Ohio State—in no particular order—earlier this week. FSU and OSU seem like longshots—the 'Noles because of distance, the Buckeyes because it's tough to get a read on where they stand, though that could easily change after his official visit this weekend.
The in-home visit from Michigan is a huge one; the general consensus is that his parents are very much in Michigan's corner, but Malik is more enamored with Michigan State. With in-homes this week from U-M, FSU, and potentially MSU, plus a final official to OSU this weekend, McDowell is on track for his planned Signing Day announcement. The biggest question at this point: how much influence will his parents have on his decision? That could very well determine if he ends up a Wolverine. The mood is tense.
Also, it's pretty clear at this point that McDowell is the only 2014 prospect left on Michigan's radar. Michigan backed off in their recruitments of running backs Jeff Jones and Marlon Mack, who flipped his commitment from UCLA to USF yesterday, while the latest Rivals update on soft Arizona State commit Kalen Ballage—who some thought Michigan would continue to pursue as an athlete—contains no mention of the Wolverines ($).
[Hit THE JUMP for the most recent spate of underclassmen offers, updates on a couple key 2015 targets, and more.]
Important (not important). This is a frog.
I have been exhorted to call this MGoFrog and make it a thing. I'm afraid that by doing so I will give Adidas an idea for a Michigan uniform, unfortunately.
Important (important). Will Heininger features in an Outside The Lines article on mental health issues for athletes:
"I had emotional pain that was overwhelming; I would wake up, and from morning until I feel asleep -- when I was able sleep -- I had troubling thoughts that were utterly consuming," said the 2011 Michigan honors graduate. "Not a minute would go by in a day, without my depression on my mind … this, this felt impossible."
One of the things CAPA is fighting for is better treatment for these sorts of issues; read the whole thing. Both of the whole things.
"Please enjoy this punch in the nuts." –DJ Newbill
CHAOS! Did you happen to watch the rote blowouts in the Big Ten last night? You did not, because Ohio State and Wisconsin lost to Penn State and Northwestern, respectively. At home. As our own BISB said:
Michigan and Michigan State are like two dudes in a hot air balloon over Pompeii right now.
— Bry Mac (@Bry_Mac) January 30, 2014
Yes. They're trying to push each other into the lava, but yes. Or Adam Jacobi:
The Big Ten Is Full of Blood and Spiders
Jacboi has a nice table that indicates the upcoming "no days off in the Big Ten"/"this conference is so deep" announcer memes are in fact on point:
|Year||Conf. Rating||Rank||Avg. B1G||Worst Team||Rating|
|2003||.7688||5||No. 56||Penn State||210|
|2004||.7520||5||No. 62||Penn State||218|
|2005||.7862||3||No. 47||Penn State||215|
|2013||.8459||1||No. 34||Penn State||148|
The closest thing to an easy out is the Northwestern team that is a half-game out of a first round bye in the Big Ten tourney; there's not even a last year's Penn State to kick around. There's a last year's Penn State plus Tim Frazier. See cliff above.
This is good and bad for Michigan. In the Kenpom world it's good since Michigan's beaten PSU handily and has yet to play OSU, but in the NCAA seeding world you get more credit for beating 6-seed OSU and terrible PSU than you get for beating 10-seed OSU and mediocre PSU. Neither of these effects are huge, so the correct reaction is probably just to point and laugh*. (And fume at how bad Big Ten refs are.)
*[But probably not at Aaron Craft. He got crossed over for the game winner, which was Newbill rushing a wrist-flick shot because Craft was coming. Meanwhile, Tim Frazier's statline: 8 points on 9 shot attempts, 7 assists, 6 TO. No offense to Derrick Walton, but put Craft on this Michigan team and they are a juggernaut. I shouldn't have mentioned this.]
Bill Carmody: gone, but not forgotten
The Wildcat conundrum. Meanwhile, we've been talking about how fascinating Northwestern is on the podcast for the last couple weeks. And boy, aren't they? Last year they were extremely bad, around 140th on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats then:
- fired Bill Carmody
- hired Chris Collins
- graduated two low-usage, mediocre efficiency seniors
- graduated a high usage, low efficiency senior
- got Drew Crawford back
- added a pretty terrible offensive player in freshman Sanjay Lumpkin, who they play starter's minutes
For some reason, the result is a massively unbalanced version of the team they were last year. Northwestern is 11th(!!!) in defensive efficiency on Kenpom for no discernable reason whatsoever. They have plummeted to 320th on offense. Their games are incredibly watchable for unwatchable games, because you're always trying to unravel the mystery of why the Wildcats are elite on defense. It makes no sense. No sense at all. Here's John Gasaway trying to figure it out.
Meanwhile, Northwestern is a half-game out of a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament and that gets BIG TENNNN, right? I think that's a BIG TENNNN.
By the way. Michigan shot 63% from two against the Wildcats and averaged 1.21 points per possession, and Alex Olah—Gasaway's best guess as to why NW is playing so much better D—was on the court for 30 minutes.
Recruiting battles past. OSU has a couple of guys on their team that Michigan pursued, and it's interesting to see their development. Or lack thereof, as the case may be.
Michigan stopped recruiting Amadeo Della Valle so they could go after Caris LeVert, who was right under OSU's nose. OSU grabs ADV; Michigan gets LeVert. In year two, Della Valle is a very poor man's LeVert: a skinny shooting guard with some ability to drive, but one who's only getting 30% of OSU's minutes as they struggle to generate anything on offense. LeVert generates a lot of assists; ADV is generating few. Hell, LeVert has replaced about 95% of Tim Hardaway's production a year after Michigan was trying to redshirt him.
The context of the team is important, but it seems like that Michigan made the right choice on that one.
The other guy on the OSU roster Michigan was involved with is Amir Williams, OSU's mercurial center. Williams has oven mitts for hands and gets pulled on the regular despite OSU's near total lack of post players to replace him with; he has seemingly not improved one whit from the absentminded freshman I remember from two years ago. Michigan was never really a consideration for Williams, but it's kind of amazing that OSU would probably trade him for Jordan Morgan without blinking.
Either way. In yesterday's post on Northwestern's prospective union I mentioned that the NLRB had flipped back and forth on the issue of student-employees being able to organize based on assertions from a 2006 paper. In that paper the most recent ruling had gone against the students trying to organize. Well, that has again flipped:
“There’s case law for the NLRB involving teaching assistants which supports their position,” Baum said. “There have been different decisions both ways. What they’re saying is that this really is a form of litigation to bring about change because they’re asking for something very similar.”
In December 2013, the American Arbitration Association announced that graduate teaching and research assistants at New York University had officially unionized. The group is the only graduate assistants’ union at a private university in the U.S.
Demonstrating the volatility of the NLRB, graduate assistants at NYU were granted the ability to negotiate a union contract and both improved health benefits and increased stipends in 2000. But in 2005 the ruling was switched following a case involving Brown graduate assistants in which the NLRB ruled that graduate assistants are students, not employees, and therefore cannot unionize.
The recent overturn of the 2005 ruling, though, is an encouraging sign for the newly formed CAPA.
One gets the sense that the NLRB tends to blow whichever way the White House does. In CAPA's case there seems to be no way to put the cat back in the bag if Northwestern does indeed get certified, so now is as good a time to strike as any.
Typical. FERPA means whatever Universities want it to mean, so the university says they will not release any details about Brendan Gibbons. This is in line with the university's general stance on releasing information—don't do it, because we have to cover our ass. Suspicious in most cases, here it verges on appalling given the fact that FERPA specifically states this:
The text of FERPA notes that the law shouldn’t “be construed to prohibit an institution of postsecondary education from disclosing the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence … or a nonforcible sex offense, if the institution determines as a result of that disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense.”
With lurid conspiracy theories flying back and forth, everyone would be better off if Michigan came forth and showed everyone exactly what happened to expel a student four years after the incident that got him expelled transpired. This is not an athletic department thing, but rather a larger pattern of CYA secrecy that's beneath the university. Or at least should be.
RPI Effect Only Teams:
UMass-Lowell (5-14) Beat Maine, but lost to New Hampshire. I’m assuming this was hockey. Houston Baptist (4-12) had a rough Bayou-centric week, losing home games to New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana. At this point, you probably aren’t even reading this section because who cares. But I’m still writing. South Carolina State (7-13) beat Norfolk State, but lost to Hampton. I’m tempted to call this section “a tree falling on a blog when a 402 error knocks out the servers.” Coppin State (7-13) lost to North Carolina Central, but beat North Carolina A&T, and are a middle-of-the-pack MEAC team, which is probably best-case scenario.
Long Beach State (7-12) beat Cal State Northridge. Purple monkey dishwasher. Holy Cross (11-9) is on a four game winning streak, beating Lafayette and Navy. Inflammable and flammable mean the same thing. Charlotte (12-7) lost to Louisiana Tech and Rice, though given the last week, Michigan’s loss to the 49ers has shifted from “resume anchor” toward “amusing anomaly indicating the unpredictable nature of sports.” Resume. Résumé. Ah, better. Vive Napoleon! Allons enfants de la patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé.
Big Sorts of Teams
#16 Iowa State (15-4, 3-4 Big 12)
This week: Beat Kansas State (81-75); Lost to Kansas (92-81)
Somehow, the bracket gurus still have Iowa State as a 4-seed. You figure it out.
Florida State (13-6, 4-2 ACC)
This week: Lost to Duke (Many-Few); Lost @ NC State (74-70)
Yikes, this week. Florida State has fought its way down to the bubble. For some reason, they have been terrible on the defensive glass; they’re dead last in the ACC, losing 40.8% of rebounds to their conference opponents. I wonder if this will come into play against…
#23 Dook (17-4, 6-2 ACC)
This week: Splattered Florida State (78-56); Beat Pitt (80-65)
Duke is hitting on all cylinders, beating KenPom’s #13 and #22 teams by a combined 37 points, with the 15 point win over #13 Pitt coming on the road. In possibly the most amazing stat I have seen all year, Duke grabbed 27 OFFENSIVE rebounds (to FSU’s 24 TOTAL rebounds). That is an OR% of 61.4%. A Duke miss was way more likely to end in Duke hands than in Seminole hands. And FSU, as I have been reminding you weekly, is huge. Jabari Parker had 10 offensive boards. That is how you beat a quality opponent by 22 despite shooting 10-39 (25.6%) from INSIDE the arc. Mind: bottled.
#1 Arizona (21-0, 8-0 PAC 12)
This week: Beat Colorado (69-57); Beat Utah (65-56); Beat Stanford (60-57)
Arizona is going to walk away with the PAC 12, and could probably sleepwalk into a 1-seed. So nothing has changed.
Stanford (13-7, 4-4 PAC 12)
This week: Lost to UCLA (91-74); Beat USC (79-71 OT); Lost to Arizona (60-57)
Stanford is riiiiiiiight on the bubble right now, and a win over Arizona would have been worth an incredible amount to the committee. They’ve still got a shot, but their golden ticket may have just escaped.
[The Big Ten after the Jump]